The Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock

Powerful Pairings in the Bible

Throughout the Bible, we often discover something about God and about ourselves in how two people or two images interact with each other. Insights regularly occur in the context of pairs, and these pairings could help us discover the value of relationships in our formation as God’s people.


Mary Magdalene and the risen Lord Jesus

By Catherine Upchurch, Published: October 4, 2022   

First impressions can be hard to shake. For many of us, our first impression of Mary Magdalene comes to us through art and legend. We may have met her first as a harlot or prostitute saved by Jesus through forgiveness. That was the story passed on to us from the Middle Ages when stained glass images and homilies by famous religious leaders rolled together at least two stories from the same Gospel: that of Mary’s More... 

Blessings and woes — opposites or partners?

By Catherine Upchurch, Published: September 14, 2022   

We tend to view the world as a collection of opposites: fear and courage, love and hate, light and dark, good and evil. Many things function in opposition and can be instructive to guide us to choose a clear path. More often than not, however, what appears only as opposites work in tandem with each other. Consider the blessings and woes found in the Sermon on the Plain in Luke 6:20-26. Jesus teaches his followers that More... 

The humility of Jesus and John the Baptist

By Catherine Upchurch, Published: August 17, 2022   

I like to imagine what it may have been like to live at the time when John the Baptist was preaching in the desert of Judea. It was during the Roman occupation of Israel when loyalties were being tested. The Jewish population was under foreign rule, with sects within Judaism responding to the Romans in various ways.  Some at the time believed it was in their best interest to get along with the occupiers; others believed More... 

David, Nathan and the prophetic tradition

By Catherine Upchurch, Published: July 13, 2022   

Chapters 11 and 12 of the Second Book of Samuel recount a dark and disappointing episode in the life of Israel’s ideal king. King David’s military conquests assure a level of stability for Israel. He is associated with many of Israel’s psalms and brought the ark of the covenant to the capital city of Jerusalem. His behavior, however, is not always ideal. Apparently, in the season when most kings are at war in the Ancient Middle More... 

David and Goliath: Rooting for the underdog

By Catherine Upchurch, Published: June 8, 2022   

It’s an unusual person who doesn’t have a soft spot for the underdog. A football team with a series of losing seasons suddenly finds itself winning, and the fans begin to show up again. A horse without much pedigree and little name recognition wins a major thoroughbred race, and we’re on our feet even watching from our homes. A tennis champion runs into real competition from a newcomer, and we talk about it all week More... 

Ruth and Naomi did what was right in God’s sight

By Catherine Upchurch, Published: May 18, 2022   

The book of Judges ends on this note: “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in their own sight.” The former slaves in Egypt had been shaped in the desert of Sinai as they made their way to the Promised Land and, once there, had settled into tribal regions. Each region was ruled by judges whose primary responsibilities included protecting their people from perceived enemies and ensuring that God’s More... 

It takes a village to raise a Moses

By Catherine Upchurch, Published: April 7, 2022   

In our popular consciousness, we sometimes picture Moses as a stand-alone superhero. Images of Charleton Heston’s portrayal of Moses in the classic movie “The Ten Commandments” even show him with his hair wind-tossed and his robes blown back behind him as the sea parts to make way for the Hebrew people to pass to safety. While Moses usually takes center stage in our imaginations, he is rarely depicted as a solitary figure in Scripture. From beginning More... 

In the beginning were relationships

By Catherine Upchurch, Published: March 9, 2022   

The book of Genesis is the story of beginnings: the beginning of creation, the beginning of a people, the beginning of salvation history. We find the bright shining thread of relationships throughout these stories of beginnings. Whether divinely created objects or people, nothing exists in isolation. The very first chapter of Genesis presents the first story of creation. Out of the chaos (“the earth was without form or shape”), God is said to use six days More... 

Pay attention to pairs appearing in the Bible

By Catherine Upchurch, Published: February 9, 2022   

Bacon and eggs. Lost and found. Fun and games. Sooner or later. The English language is filled with common word pairings that go together like, well, peanut butter and jelly. Our conversations are sprinkled with such pairings that have become a natural part of ordinary discourse. Pairings are not isolated to a particular culture or language. Pairing words, ideas and characters is universal, and can serve as a way to explore values, discover truth and even More...